People make mistakes in their youth, and, unfortunately, those mistakes can follow them through the years. In the case of someone who faces criminal charges, the ramifications can be quite extensive.
Thankfully, if you or a loved one have felony charges on your record and serve your debt to society, you may be able to remove the charges from your record with an expungement. You can think of the process in three steps.
1. The application
To begin the expungement process, parties must file a petition for expungement form. Along with completing the form, applicants may need to submit additional paperwork. To ensure they submit all necessary paperwork, applicants should check with the circuit court of the county in which they received the initial charge. Courts in different counties have different requirements, and submitting incomplete paperwork can lead to a denial. Therefore, this is a critical step.
Along with paperwork, applicants must submit fingerprints as well. They may choose any agency the courts deem to be legitimate. Once complete, the fingerprinting agency must send the fingerprints and the application to the Central Criminal Records Exchange. The organization reviews and confirms the fingerprints before sending the findings to the court.
3. Serving the attorney
Applicants must submit their expungement petitions to the Attorney for the Common Wealth of Virginia. After reviewing the application, the attorney may decide to attest or allow the expungement. Should the attorney choose to allow it, the applicant does not have to go through a court proceeding and may receive an expungement of his or her criminal charges. On the other hand, should the attorney choose to attest the petition, both the attorney and the applicant get a chance to present their cases in court.
Obtaining an expungement requires quite a bit of work, but it can be worth it. Consider these critical aspects of the process to determine your best course of action.